Double IoT rainbow

Number of IoT devices to double in the next six years

Coman Hamilton
Feature image: Kansas Poetry (Patrick)

The hype surrounding the Internet of Things seems to have reached its peak, but research shows number of IoT devices will continue to grow to 40 billion by 2020.

The Internet of Things and Big Data have long been playing Game of Thrones for the title of biggest buzzword in IT. Last week, IoT officially kicked the analytics trend into the “trough of disillusionment” in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. Meanwhile IoT has moved up into the “peak of excitement”.


Source: Gartner (August 2014)

But even if the IoT hype can get any bigger, the growth of active wireless connected devices is nowhere near its peak. According to ABI Research, the number of “things” is set to double by 2020. ABI claims that IoT devices, which are estimated to hit 16 billion by the end of the year, will grow to 40 billion by 2020. Gartner recently put the figure significantly lower, at 26 billion devices.

Meanwhile, wearable devices are also said to be growing astronomically this year. Wrist devices have increased a whopping 700% in the first half of this year alone, says Canalys, who puts Samsung in first place as the leader in wearable technology, followed by Pebble and Sony.

In an attempt to root Java ME 8 at the heart of IoT, Oracle are doing their best to establish Java as the main go-to language for programming wirelessly connected devices. For the 9 million Java developers out there poised to switch to programming connected embedded devices, the latest version of Java ME is positioning itself as a comprehensive platform for developing software running the 40 billion connected embedded devices.

A “trough of disillusionment” awaits

As with every tech trend, IoT technology is struggling to keep up with the buzz that surrounds it. Wearable or non-wearable, the field of connected devices will itself need to mature, and its users along with it. “Connectedness means more ways for things to go wrong,” as IoT expert Claire Rowland recently said at the Webinale conference. Light switches with latency and heaters with connectivity issues – the average customer is not used to experiencing digital problems with analogue household devices like kettles, ovens, lights and thermostats.

But a shoddy user experience isn’t the only problem facing IoT at the moment.

Backdoors, vulnerabilities and crackable passwords

Last week, researchers at EuRECOM France announced they discovered that an shocking 140,000 IoT devices have weak security. From backdoors to easy-to-crack passwords (the most popular default passwords are “pass”, “logout” and “helpme”), IoT devices are showing up nearly every security flaw in the book. On top of that, the inferior IoT firmware shared by countless devices means that as many as half a million devices may also have the same shared backdoors.

The current state of affairs in IoT begs the question, how many of the future 40 billion devices will be affected by a poor UX and even worse security?
Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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